There are 4 essential components to all procedure. Let’s do this!
What tasks took too much time this year and caused you stress?
Write them down now, then read on!
One of the most important things you should be concerned about is setting the tone for the new year, semester, quarter, or class period right with fancy new PROCEDURES.
Your procedures help you not only to set expectations for what your class or rehearsal will be like each day, but it will help take the anxiety out of the minds of your choristers, and most importantly, YOU!
No one likes to walk into chaos, especially adolescent children. Even “ordered chaos” is still chaos. You shouldn’t teach in it either. Winging-it through rehearsal each day, expecting your kids to feel safe enough to share their voices with you in their best way, is unreasonable.
Your procedures MUST be the following 4 things…
Purposeful – helps to solve a problem
Reliable – happens regularly and is predictable
Timely – happens at the proper time for maximum impact
Systematic – makes your life easier through some type of automation
The components of a procedure don’t make for a good acronym, but they are essential. 😉
You’re going to be making up a procedure to solve a headache. Everything that causes a headache can be solved with a well-thought-out procedure! And since any new procedure takes time to write and implement, it must be purposeful. You should first determine the problem you wish to solve with a procedure. This could be something as common as general discipline to something more complicated like distribution of new music, collecting orders for chorus t-shirts, or getting into formation for a concert in a tricky venue.
Next, is the procedure reliable? Do your choristers know to expect it each time they step into the room, arrive for a concert, or even get up to sing for an exam? After a well-planned procedure is implemented, they should expect it every time.
Timely procedures are ones that happen at the right time. The biggest mistake I see is the “announcements” happening at the beginning of class. This is a procedure that is often done the same way every time, but at the WRONG time! Why? Because it disrupts the flow of the rehearsal, sucks the energy out of the room, and is procrastination for choral directors. On top of that, choristers will arrive late because “they haven’t missed anything important”. Choose the best time for your procedure.
Systematic procedures make your life simpler! They help you minimize the amount of time and effort you spend on a task through automation. This doesn’t necessarily have to be by the use of technology, but in some cases it really helps. Technology has saved me hundreds of hours.
For example, I use Google Forms for EVERYTHING. Any time I need to collect information from choristers, I put up a form. When the collection is done, it’s paperless and is in a nice, neat, and tidy spreadsheet. I can collect uniform sizes or chaperone info for a trip, ask for feedback, or most anything you can do with a paper form. It’s also easy for checking against a gradebook. The form integrations for Google Classroom even allows assignment uploads. Wufoo, an original online form editor, lets people pay for good or services; great for collecting field trip money or uniform payments!
A procedure that doesn’t use technological automation would be the way I introduce new students to my classroom. Check that out, if you haven’t already.
Hope this was food for thought!